Gutsy Nevada Sheriff Investigates Obama’s BLM Wild Horse Cruelty Reports

Story by Brooke Boone of Reno’s NBC Channel 4

Local Law Finally Stands Up To Lawless BLM Thugs

Click on Image for Video Report and to Comment ~ Photo by Laura Leigh

A sheriffs office is investigating if some of the actions in the Bureau of Land Management‘s wild horse roundup are animal abuse. This investigation started the same day we aired a video– showing a helicopter pilot flying close to a horse in White Pine County. Brooke Boone has been working hard on this story… White Pine County Sheriff Dan Watts say his office received this video– shortly after it was taken on January 28th. After seeing the video, they began investigating if Sun J Livestock– the company hired by the Bureau of Land Management to round up horses in northern Nevada was committing animal cruelty. The investigation is now complete, and the District Attorney will then decide whether or not charges can be proven in court. Sheriff Watts tells News 4 it will depend on the severity of the case, but animal cruelty is a misdemeanor.

I tried once again to speak with or even get a comment from Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. He is in charge of the BLM. We have not heard from him but we did get an emailed statement from his press secretary.

“Secretary Salazar is committed to the humane care of wild horses and burros, on or off the range. He believes that we need a common-sense approach that focuses on herd health and environmental health. If there is found to be animal cruelty appropriate actions will be taken.”

Sheriff Watts tells News 4 they have and continue to get complaints from those observing the roundup. Watts says, “We don’t want any cruelty to animals. We don’t take a position on whether or not they should be rounded up or shouldn’t but it’s just that they’re done humanely”

The roundup moved out of White Pine County and into Elko County today. We called the Elko County Sheriffs office to find out if they were on scene to monitor what was going on. They say they are not on scene but will get involved if necessary.

28 comments on “Gutsy Nevada Sheriff Investigates Obama’s BLM Wild Horse Cruelty Reports

  1. My hope is that the evidence is carefully reviewed and that a fair, accurate and unbiased DA sees fit to file charges. Charges that should have been filed in every county in which the horses have been run to injury and death.


  2. Animal cruelty as a misdemeanor is what we have. Law makers are so reluctant to touch a human even when that human is dangerous and deadly to living creatures.
    Inadequate laws. Adequate need to intervene. If we make an impression on OSHA they can do more than a slap on the wrist. This is a step in the right direction and we must respond to what happens to the horses in order to get authorities involved….

    There was talk of changing crews because of the complaints. That remains to be seen. mar


    • Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board Will Hold Two-day Meeting in March in Phoenix
      The Bureau of Land Management announced today that the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board will hold a two-day meeting in Phoenix on March 10-11. The two-day event will take place at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel, 340 N. 3rd Street, Phoenix, Arizona, 85004.

      This is it… another workshop for us also??? We have changed a lot since last June and I doubt we will be so easy to talk with this time around. This means we need to have meetings the evening of the 9th, before the workshop and the eving of the 10th after the workshop and before the Advisory Board meeting. Let’s not waste time! Let’s create our own dialogue and come with questions and ideas to work on! mar


  3. Just for clarification: Sheriff Watts is not investigating the horse whose picture is the header of this story. The cruelty charge that Sheriff Watts has investigated and referred to the White Pine County DA is related to the mare who collapsed (aka Ole Sister) videoed 1/27/11 by Deniz Balboz and coincidentally by Ginger Kathrens. The photograph you published here was orignally published 2/6/11 and taken 2/6/11 by Laura Leigh.


    • Well understood, Jan. The video report is quite clear on that but this photo, taken Superbowl Sunday by Laura does display the same pilot, in the same helicopter, as the same contractor, committing the same acts of harassment during the same BLM stampede. The picture was to act as a “still” icon for a quick link to the video story.


  4. This from one of the people who commented in the article:

    Sheriff Watts was quoted in article “Sheriff Watts tells News 4 it will depend on the severity of the case, but animal cruelty is a misdemeanor.”

    However, actually it depends on the number of offenses that one is found guilty of–after 3 it’s a FELONY.


    • Louie – Each state has its own animal cruelty laws, with different levels of severity of punishment. So a misdemeanor is one state might actually be a felony in another state.
      As an example: Some states allow certain activities, including cock fighting in two states, while others have outlawed all animal fighting. I believe that animal fighting is a felony here in the state of Georgia.
      So, does Nevada have a 3 strikes policy that changes a misdemeanor to a felony in animal cruelty cases?


  5. These are positive steps and we can hope they will be followed through. The Sheriff of each county involved should send a couple of deputies to the scenes of the gathers. Their mere presence ought to serve as a deterent to the type of abuse we have seen and that would at least benefit the horses even if charges were not ultimately filed. If a deputy could get out there in plain clothes as just another observer it might be possible to observe and photograph/video the same kind of actions Laura and others have reported and that could be more convincing to a prosecutor. Just knowing they are being looked at by law enforcement apart from the BLM could also have enough effect on the contractors to cause them to get rid of or at least change some of their crews. So even though they are only looking at possible prosecutions for misdemeanors, a conviction could possibly get that idiot flying the helicopter permanently grounded from this type of work.


    • Dear Wambli Okiye, This is cut and died case of abuse, now we realize that not just one is doing this but all the pilots, we will wait again to see what happens with this????? I always think !!!! And all this horror, that should have not even taken place at all……………..All brought on by the BLM unnecessary and needless from the start.?????……..And in the wake, the Mustangs continue to suffer unspeakable horrors by an Agency who calls them Rats with Hooves……………Who gets paid our money to Protect them….. Talk about a Total Travesty !!!!


  6. The sheriff and/or deputies should be watching the roundup to see for themselves the cruelty. Those poor horses are being run to death. We need to know how many die in the holding pens from this.


  7. State of Nevada Animal Cruelty laws is as follows:
    574.100. Overdriving, torturing, injuring or abandoning animals; failure to provide proper sustenance; penalty.
    1. A person shall not:
    (a) Overdrive, overload, torture, cruelly beat or unjustifiably injure, maim, mutilate or kill an animal, whether belonging to himself or to another;
    (b) Deprive an animal of necessary sustenance, food or drink, or neglect or refuse to furnish it such sustenance or drink;
    (c) Cause, procure or allow an animal to be overdriven, overloaded, tortured, cruelly beaten, or unjustifiably injured, maimed, mutilated or killed, or to be deprived of necessary food or drink;
    (d) Instigate, engage in, or in any way further an act of cruelty to any animal, or any act tending to produce such cruelty; or
    (e) Abandon an animal in circumstances other than those prohibited in NRS 574.110.

    2. A person who violates subsection 1:
    (a) For the first offense within the immediately preceding 7 years, is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be sentenced to:
    (1) Imprisonment in the city or county jail or detention facility for not less than 2 days, but not more than 6 months; and
    (2) Perform not less than 48 hours, but not more than 120 hours, of community service. The person shall be further punished by a fine of not less than $200, but not more than $1,000. A term of imprisonment imposed pursuant to this paragraph may be served intermittently at the discretion of the judge or justice of the peace, except that each period of confinement must be not less than 4 consecutive hours and must occur either at a time when the person is not required to be at his place of employment or on a weekend.
    (b) For the second offense within the immediately preceding 7 years, is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be sentenced to:
    (1) Imprisonment in the city or county jail or detention facility for not less than 10 days, but not more than 6 months; and
    (2) Perform not less than 100 hours, but not more than 200 hours, of community service.
    The person shall be further punished by a fine of not less than $500, but not more than $1,000.
    (c) For the third and any subsequent offense within the immediately preceding 7 years, is guilty of a category C felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130.

    Please note the 3rd and subsequent offense result in Felony punishment. Link to Nevada Cruelty to Animals Statutes:


  8. Please note the 3rd and subsequent offense within the immediately preceding 7 years is guilty of Category C felony. It is a misdemeanor only for the first two charges. Hopefully this new D.A. Mr. Kelly Brown will prosecute. If not, the next step is take it to the Attorney General.

    Justice will Prevail. No one is above the letter of the law.


  9. They say they are not on scene but will get involved if necessary.”

    How will they know if it is necessary if they are not on the scene?
    Why is animal cruelty only a misdemeanor?


  10. My issue is with Kennie Salazoo. We know that Sun J is causing abuse and horrible trauma to the horses and burros. The video is out there. RT has said that folks from Elko BLM also watch this website.

    My issue is how can this government agency condone the actions of this pilot? He has hit animals in the past and as it has been shown in the past ten days or so–he may not hit them but he has no idea of how to “drive” them where he wants them to go.

    For instance flying over the head of a very tired mare tells the horse to stop and turn around. That’s fine but the when you watch the entire video you see this pilot turning this horse in big 360 degree turns at least twice for no apparent reason other than he could. That mare was exhausted. She had already been run off her feet. There was no reason to further harass her by folks on the ground waving whipsticks trying to get her to her feet and then by the pilot. All that those people saw that day was greenbacks not her welfare.

    That speaks directly to abuse. I really wish Kennie Salazoo would get his privates out of his backside and honestly deal with this. Or direct someone with enough gonads to do so.


  11. Nora, the person that I quoted seemed to have a good knowledge of Nevada Law. I only quoted part of it–there is more. You can click on the NBC Channel 4 link and read the comments. There is some good information there.


  12. Wambli – I could not agree with you more and coongratulate you for getting to the heart of this problem. The fact is “cowboy” mentality does rise and animals are abused in its wake. The sheriffs are now in the eye of the American public and from their own peers, some of whom believe an animal has the right to dignified treatment. But the law is clear; animal does not include the human race but includes every other living creature, torture or cruelty includes every act, omission. Or neglect whereby unjustifiable physical pain, suffering or death is caused or permitted. We may fuurther press charges for the dead foals and horses with broken legs, gut shot or other means of death while gathering. The law in Nevada is clear – a person having … Charge of custody of a maimed, disabled, diseased or infirm animal who abandons or leaves it to die in a … Public place or allows it to lie more than 3 hours (hogtying comes to mind as well as other barbaric acts) after he receives notice that it is left disabled, is guilty of a misdemeanor. Lastly, trailerss in wet snowy conditions without nonskid precautions is prohibited by law – a person who carries in or upon any vessel or vehicle or otherwise any animal in a cruel or inhumane manner or so as to produce torture, is guilty of a misdemenor.

    Folks – it is obvious to me that the law is on the side of the animal in these roundups. Feel free to demand your report of alerts of abusive cruel treatment. I believe the SOL Is 2 years, but this can be confirmed. It is time to lay down the chips.


    • I have an instant cure for “cowboy mentality.” The last — and only — two people who tried to “cowboy” my mare both ended up with their butts in the dirt. They just thought they could jump on her and ride. They didn’t have any manners — snd she let ’em know it! But ask her nicely and she’s an angel.
      So, maybe my mare has something to teach these idiots about equine etiquette!


      • Dear Nora, your beautiful mare, and Horses demand respect, you give it and they will give it right back ………………..You dont give it they will set you on your a-s until you do, great teachers arnt they !!!!! They say you do not break a horse you only convince him what you want from him is the right thing to do…………………………………


  13. Why dont they hire good horsemen on horseback to move the herds quietly along to the holding yards this is the way we do wild cattle in Australia and it works we put good crews together and they work slow and steady and get the job done. As for this sheriff he is trying and for that i am truely gratfull and admire him for having enough guts to take on the goverment …again i thank you………….


    • because they have no horseman out out there just some Yahoos, there was a day when a cowboy was a horseman..those days are gone


    • Understanding horse behavior is totally absent. Wild horses (specifically stallions) will sometimes attack domestic horses in their territory. It’s not in their nature to abide “intruders.” If a herd can’t flee fast enough, its protector will turn and fight. So, whoever might riding/rounding up on horseback needs to understand territorial behavior and proper herding techniques in order to move a group of wild horses without being injured in the process. This takes skill and experience — neither of which the contractors possess on the ground. And they can’t get it right from the air, either, apparently…


  14. yes Sheriff Watts.. running the horses the distance they do is overworking! sandblasting the horses with hurricane force helicoptor rotorwash is cruel, shocking the horses with the known static charge that arcs from a helicoptor is also cruel.

    Not even to mention any contact by the helicoptor, thats even worse.

    Sheriff Watts, the BLM and their contractors have broken many of your Nevada state animal cruelty laws for YEARS and years! Its C felony time!!


  15. This is a Sheriff that stood them down–PPJ GAZETTE
    July 30, 2010 by Barbara Peterson

    by Cassandra Anderson

    Constitutional Sheriff Tony DeMeo


  16. Hard to believe that this still goes on. For many it’s a case of out of sight out of mind. Maybe footage on a majot network will get Obama on point


  17. this is a site from earlier this year, but this cruelty is happening today!! stop this. demand that josh hellyer be charged with criminal animal abuse and the whole blm violating the 1971 free roaming wild horse and burro act. i see all manner of violations. charge these sonsabitches. it’s cruel and illegal. obama is useless.


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